It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Friday, February 10, 2012

He was made clean, Reflection on 2 Kings 5:13-14

One of my favorite authors is Walter Breuggemann. I not only buy his books; I also read them. Here's a portion of what he had to say about Naaman's acceptance of Elisha's odd medical prescription (Texts for Preaching, A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV-Year B):
The story ends in an act of submissive obedience of the commander to the plan of the prophet (v. 14). The commander acts "according to the word of the man of God" and engages in ritual washing, which is beneath his station. The result is the one he had hoped for but doubted possible! He is made whole! He is made clean! He is made ritually acceptable....The narrative stands as odd testimony that power for life is indeed offered and available. That power for life is not given in expected or even socially approved forms. It comes in primitive ways that live close to the gifts of the earth.Thus all the pretense of the Syrian leader with his entourage, his goods brought for gifts (for bribery or negotiation), turn out to be irrelevant.
Healing is an offer that is free, but only through the word and acts of this uncredentialed prophet.

Questions that arise:
Is there a modern-day analogy for "ritual washing"?

Does the place of the water matter, or would the healing have been just as effective if Elisha had sent him to some other river? That is, think about who really does the healing.

Do you agree with Bruggemann on the power of life coming from "primitive ways that live close to the gifts of the earth"?

Why did servants know what to do and a king did not?

What does it mean that two different servants were willing to give Naaman advice?

What does it mean that he was willing to follow their advice?

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